Nowhere To Go

Photo by Nick Abrams on Unsplash

I’ve got nowhere to go and all day to get there.

I’ve heard my dad say these words many times in the years since his retirement—usually when I’m worried about inconveniencing him or taking up more of his time than I intended to—but never before have I actually related to them.

Although time itself is the same today as it was six weeks ago, it feels different somehow. Slower. Pre-pandemic this was a concept I couldn’t even grasp. I may not have had somewhere to go every day, but I always had plenty on my to-do list, along with a perpetually deficient number of hours in which to get it done. I was goal oriented, achievement focused, and if I’m being honest, completely exhausted.

Looking back, I can’t seem to pinpoint the purpose of all the busyness. I rushed and planned and hustled and called it progress. But what was I progressing toward? Prosperity? Success? Proof of my own worthiness? It all feels trivial in light of current events. Events that are so uncertain and uncomfortable that talk of returning to normal fills many people with anticipation, and understandably so. But if ‘back to normal’ means a reversion to the hectic and hurried, I’m not exactly chomping at the bit to get there.

Sure, there’s a part of me that wants and needs some things to become ordinary once again—like seeing loved ones in person and attending church and frequenting other favorite places—but there’s another, possibly larger part that wants to keep one foot cemented in that slowed-down, nowhere to go pace.

Maybe you can relate. Maybe that perspective is one of the greatest benefits of this strange time. One that can endure and change us if we allow it to. One that reminds us that the freedom to do anything, go anywhere, have anything, doesn’t mean we necessarily should.

If the thought of getting back to normal fills you with a sense of urgency, along with a simultaneous feeling of hesitation, I encourage you to pause before jumping in with both feet. Realize that the nowhere to go and all day to get there mentality isn’t reserved only for retirement. And take some time to reflect on what really matters, what’s necessary, and how much of the past you want to haul into the future.

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